You have all definitely done it. Where you prioritise your work over other things. Like getting home in time for a certain event, or even when you don’t have an event or anything you need to get to but you keep working past when you should go home until 8 pm.
Why do we do this? And it could not even be work that takes priority over your training, it could be you are home for work in time but the draw of the sofa and Netflix is too much and it takes priority over you getting to the gym for your workout.
We do this even though we know the endless benefits of training, and we think doing that extra work and staying another hour or two later will help our work whereas what would actually be better for your performance is getting in a workout or doing some physical activity.
There are fantastic cognitive benefits to getting physical activity in during the day that can improve your cognitive performance!
1. Increase your inspiration.
Stanford University conducted a study that tested this and they found that when people spend time in a natural environment, moving, doing physical activity they experience a natural shift in how they view time.
2. Physical Activity can improve your creativity.
For many cognitive athletes, creativity is an essential Key Performance Indicator in their profession. Finding any way to improve this is an essential tool, especially after its already been a long day!
A study was done by psychologists at the University of Utah and the University of Kansas, that looked at the impact of physical activity on creativity found that spending some quality time training improved people’s Remote Associate’s Test results.
This test, also known as RAT measures creative potential using word associations. The test was given to 56 participants going on a four-day hiking expedition. Twenty-four of these participants took the test before they began their hiking trip. The 32 other participants took it on the fourth day of their hiking test. Researchers ultimately found that four days in nature, hiking helped participants improve their test scores by 50 per cent.
3. Physical Activity Can Improve overall cognitive performance.
As cognitive athletes, your brain is your most important asset. It is the tennis racket of your profession – without it, you would be useless, with a bad one it affects your performance, use it incorrectly and your performance is also negatively affected. Getting outside, going for walks, any physical activity during the workday can improve your brain function. In order for the brain to work at its highest possible level, you need to be able to reduce fatigue and boost your energy levels. This allows your brain to restore itself so you can start thinking of new ideas and harnessing your highest cognitive abilities. According to the Journal of Environmental Psychology, getting outside and moving is a fantastic method to allow your brain to refresh, restore and start functioning again.
In conclusion, if you are having periods of the work day where you feel your brain is fried, lacking inspiration and creativity, then getting outside during the day may be the best solution for you!
So What Are We Doing?
If we know that we can improve our work performance through getting physical activity during the day why don’t we schedule it into our calendars like a board meeting or conference call?
And what I don’t mean is using your lunch break in order to get in a gym session, I mean a genuine scheduled chunk of time in order to get in physical activity that is set aside in your calendar outside of a lunch hour.
Why not organise something a group could do or your whole team?
I used to work for a company that would organise “Office Ball” – an adapted game of handball – in the office during mid-afternoon in order to beat the mid-afternoon lull. Instead of turning to a coffee or monster.
I don’t have the exact answer to this, as to why we don’t prioritise physical activity.
Is it maybe that we don’t feel that we can?
Is it an issue that is above us?
Do we feel that if we took time out of our day, outside of lunch it would be frowned upon or we would be told off?
Or even worse made fun of by other co-workers who might mock going for a run at 3 pm?
Maybe society and companies need to change towards prioritising physical activity as a method to invigorate its employees and actually, get the best out of them.
Maybe this needs to be a change at the education level. So that everyone growing up understands the benefits of physical activity
I do not have the answer to this…
But I would love to know peoples thoughts on this.